NEW DELHI | JUNE 20, 2020:
One day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the country of no foreign incursions into India, China has claimed that the Galwan valley of Ladakh is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China's foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, on Saturday, said that the Galwan valley is located on the Chinese side of the LAC in the west section of the China-India boundary.
"For many years, the Chinese border troops have been on patrol duty in this region," Zhao said.
The Chinese claims came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an All-Party Meeting via video conferencing to discuss the situation on the India-China border areas.
"Twenty of our brave soldiers made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in Ladakh but also taught a lesson to those who had dared to look towards our motherland," Modi had said.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi
"The nation will forever remember their valour and sacrifice. The Army has been given full freedom to take the necessary steps and India has also conveyed its position clearly to China through diplomatic means," he added.
During the meeting, Modi highlighted the fact that the government has prioritized the development of border area infrastructure.
"Patrolling capacity at LAC has also increased and the country is better informed about the developments at LAC and can monitor and respond better," he said.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh had said that the nation will never forget the sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers.
On the other hand, External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar gave an overview of the agreements between India and China on border management.
He informed that back in 2014, the Prime Minister had given the highest priority to the development of infrastructure in border areas.
The meeting concluded with all leaders expressing their commitment to stand united with the government.
Congress leaders speak up:
Meanwhile, Congress leaders have accused Modi of surrendering to the Chinese.
Taking to Twitter, the Congress posted the following tweet, "Let the Government of India answer China's claims on Galwan today not wait until tomorrow so that our position is made clear."
While affirming its total support to the Government of India and India's defence forces, the party raised several questions.
"Even after the PM's statement yesterday, China has blamed India for the clashes and has reasserted its claim to the entire Galwan Valley. What is the government's answer to this claim?" the Congress asked.
"Will the Government of India reject this claim? If no Chinese troops are inside Indian territory in Ladakh, why did 20 soldiers have to make the supreme sacrifice? What was the meaning of 'status quo ante'? What was the meaning of the 'disengagement' that the government said was underway? If no Chinese troops are on Indian territory, why did the Foreign Minister's statement and other statements of MEA demand the restoration of status quo ante?" it added.
Boycotting Chinese goods will not hurt their economy, says Chidambaram
Congress leader, P Chidambaram
During a party briefing today, Congress leader, P Chidambaram said that boycotting Chinese goods will not hurt the Chinese economy.
"We should not bring issues like boycott when we are discussing very grave matters like the defence of India," he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi blamed the government for being unprepared.
Taking to his official Twitter handle, Gandhi tweeted, "It's now crystal clear that: 1. The Chinese attack in Galwan was pre-planned. 2. GOI was fast asleep and denied the problem. 3. The price was paid by our martyred Jawans".
Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi blamed the government for being unprepared.
"I am perturbed by our PM's statement that unwittingly provides ammunition to the Chinese side to claim that the fighting occurred on their territory, not ours. This desire to put short-term domestic political messaging ahead of long-term strategic considerations is not in our national interest. If the PM does not know better, he should be better advised. Twenty jawans died fighting to protect our borders. The least that political leaders can do to honour their memory is to stand up for the cause for which they gave their lives," tweeted Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor.
NCP Chief and former Defence Minister, Sharad Pawar stated that issues of whether soldiers carried arms or not are decided by international agreements and that the parties need to respect the sensitivities involved in such matters.
"The PLA must be evacuated from occupying high ground in Galwan Valley on the Indian side. If we want PLA to evacuate from Galwan, compulsory measures are required. It would be advisable to strategize using diplomatic channels to defuse tension on the border & make China see reason," Pawar said.
IAF on high alert :
In the meantime, the Indian Air Force (IAF), on Saturday, stated that it is well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency.
"It should be very clear that we are well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency. I assure the nation that we are determined to deliver and will never let the sacrifice of our braves of Galwan go in vain," IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said.
The IAF stated that it is well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency.
According to sources, the IAF has deployed Apache attack helicopters in Ladakh as well as Chinook heavy-weight choppers.
The increased deployment also includes regular Combat Air Patrols, surveillance aircraft and the Navy's P8I aircraft.
It was also informed that Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria visited the airbases in Leh and Srinagar on Wednesday evening after high-level meetings with the government.